Courage is Being Scared to Death But Saddling Up Anyway

George Washington's picture

“I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear"

Great men and women throughout history have understood courage:

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.
- John Wayne

Courage is doing what your afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.
- Eddie Rickenbacker

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
- George Patton

Courage Is Contagious

Courage is also contagious. And studies show that even a single dissenter speaking their mind empowers others to think for themselves.

Here’s an example … of a navy sailor standing tall in the middle of last year’s Oakland tear gas attack holding the constitution and a veterans for peace flag … moments after Scott Olsen was hit in the head.


Here he is a couple of minutes before, standing with marine veteran Scott Olsen before Olsen was hit in the head and nearly killed by a projectile:

OccupyOakland Sailor and Marine Scott Olsen “I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear


Whether you agree with Occupy or not, you have to admire his courage.

Here’s a more stunning example. This is the iconic picture of the brave protester facing down tanks in Tiananmen Square:

tank guy “I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear

But this newly-surfaced image with a much wider view shows that he didn’t face 4 tanks … but scores of tanks:

iHHVQwK8L6s3u “I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That Fear

And watch this incredible video of the man getting in front of the tank as it tries to maneuver around him, and then climbing on top of the tank:



His courage inspired people worldwide.

Courage is contagious.

Can you understand now why tyrants are so desperate to keep images of courage away from the general public … and instead to promote fear and cowardice?

 “I Learned That Courage Was Not The Absence of Fear, But The Triumph Over It. The Brave Man Is Not He Who Does Not Feel Afraid, But He Who Conquers That FearGraphic by Anthony Freda:

The Secret to Courage … Love

There is a real misunderstanding of what it means to be courageous. In America, courage is often thought of as a testosterone-driven toughness. There’s nothing the matter with testosterone. Masculinity is a great thing. But many American men secretly fear that they don’t have sufficient testosterone to really be brave when the chips are down. Even those of us who think of ourselves as brave men usually only act like that when we know it is within the bounds of safety, within the limits of what we can handle.

We might jump into a bar room brawl to protect our buddy, but that’s because we know we’re only going to get knocked around a little bit — nothing but bruises that will go away in a little while. The stakes just aren’t that high.

But most American men secretly doubt whether they are macho enough to pull it off under fire. They may watch alot of action movies, and talk tough, and stand up when its not really dangerous (or when they clearly outgun the other guy), but they are secretly terrified that they don’t have quite enough backbone to pull it off against the big boys, such as tyrants.

I would argue that this view fundamentally misunderstands the nature of courage, and ensures that we will never have true courage when it counts.

By way of analogy, the word “discipline” comes from “disciple”. If you are a true “disciple” of an idea of a plan or a strategy or a religion, then you will stick to it and “have discipline” to reach your goal. It is not just a matter of willpower; it is also devotion to something bigger than ourselves.

Similarly, the word “courage” comes from the French “with heart”. Why does it have this root meaning? Because it takes heart to act bravely. That’s how my childhood Karate teacher used the word: when I was practicing with courage, power and focus, he would say “you have alot of heart today” (indeed, many old-school warriors use the phrase “fighting with heart” in that way).

If courage is acting “with heart”, we’ve lost heart. And without heart, we cannot face the truth.

So how do we regain our heart? Well, let’s start with what gets our hearts beating.

Remember that the mother bear is one of the fiercest animals of all. Just get between a mother bear and her cub and you’ll see what I mean. It is her love of her cub which gives her the heart to face any enemy when her cub is threatened. It is not her level of testosterone, but rather her love for her cub which makes her so fierce.

Just as discipline is more than just willpower, courage stems from something bigger than just cajones. In fact, the strongest courage comes from the love of something we care about, since our heart will sustain us even when the chips are really down and we are really up against a tyrant. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. “

In addition, we’re no longer living in the old west. Individualism is very important in numerous ways, but we can only win against the tyrants as a team, as a community, as a nation. And only by opening our hearts to what matters will we be able to work together, to fight for all of our kids, and all of our freedom. Only then will we be able to put the crooks and the looters and the tyrants back in the box.

Do we care about our kids, our significant others, our parents, our friends? Do we care about the freedom to choose what we want, instead of having our “great leader” choose for us?

If not, what DO we care about? Because if that is where your heart is, that is what will give you courage.

I care too much about my kids and their future to be afraid. I care enough about them that it gets my heart beating, connects me to something bigger than myself, and that gives me courage, even when the chips are down.

Courage is an innate human quality. It is within each of us, waiting to reveal itself when we open our hearts. When we act with heart, by definition, we are courageous.

Humor Gives Perspective … So Laugh a Little

Humor is important, because it helps us laugh at – instead of giving into – our fears.

Wise people in cultures around the world have understood the power of humor to melt fear and to let people gain perspective on what is or isn’t really a threat.

See this for a great example of humor about the threat of terror

Fear Is Not a Christian Value

The vast majority of Americans who are Christians should remember that fear is not a Christian value.

Jesus repeatedly told his disciples and other people not to be afraid. For example, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus:

  • Speaks these words to the disciples during a storm (14:27)
  • To Peter, James and John during the Transfiguration (17:7)
  • To the women outside the empty tomb (28:10)
  • To the disciples he is about to send out to teach, preach and heal, he says, “Have no fear” of those who have called the master of the house Beelzebul and will surely also malign those of his household (10:25)
  • “Do not be afraid,” Jesus says, reminding those he is sending out of the One whose eye is on the sparrow. “You are of more value than many sparrows” (10:31)

(In other sections of the Bible, Jesus said do not be afraid another 10 times.)

Jesus told his flock not to be afraid. Christians that succumb to fear are not following Christ’s teachings. Those of us who succumb to fear are following those who would manipulate – instead of free – us.

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motionview's picture

Showing Tank Man with the OWS rabble is abut as lame as you can get.

Goldilocks's picture

Dan Rather signs off with "Courage" - September 1-5, 1986 (0:59)

therearetoomanyidiots's picture

I know an american that was teaching near Tienamen when the tank event happened. 

People, the day after the event occurred, just disappeared from his classroom and no one ever heard from them again.

Others in the class would not tell him what happened or even what they thought happened to the missing students.

Talk about courage, anyone that said this man in front of the tank wasn't courageous is an idiot. Certain death awaited him and he knew it. 

OWS thinks they are courageous but they don't have to fear the government coming after them because they're in the pocket of this admin and the leftists in this country.  Whether they know it or not, their failure to condemn Barry Soetero and the others 'on their side' only goes to show why the unions and soros money are supporting them.   It's only the right and the capitalists.  They know nothing of courage. 

malalingua's picture

This is very well done. I have just finished reading and going to be tweeting this out because this is the kind of article that people NEED to be reading rather than that rubbish they're being force fed. Brilliant!

nmewn's picture

Courage is standing up for your right to a Big Gulp whether you want one now or never.

I am Jobe's picture

George- KUDOS Bravo and very very insightful. Most Americans have lot in their ways and the reason things are the ay it is and has become.

Thank you for sharing this great article.

deez nutz's picture

The Tienanmen photos remind of the GM lot where some poor slob is looking to hook into debt serfdom on a big azz pickup for 7 years.....

I am Jobe's picture

Nice. However America's pussification began and continues to accelrate at a rapid pace .

lakecity55's picture

I have had the privilege of being with guys who did some very amazing things. Training helps a lot, but when the chips are down, it's all about protecting your buddies and then yourself. I've seen guys who screw around with each other yet work like clockwork when it counted.

Love and Loyalty will see you through.

We were taught an acronym, LDRSHIP:




Selfless Service



Personal Courage

AnAnonymous's picture

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.
- John Wayne


US citizens have this special knacK

Marion Mitchell Morrisson, stage name John Wayne, was a US citizen who used WW2 to establish his movie actor career, taking advantage of potential concurrents like Willian Clark Gable (stage name Clark Gable) enlistments in the US army forces.

US citizens have this special knack at choosing examples that dilute or even destroy their statements.

Wayne took advantage of the State provided opportunities to progress into the competition just the way as your typical US citizen corporation does.

But one of his quotes has to be the example of courage being that resilient.

US citizenism at work.

By the way, it is quite hard to provide examples of certain values when choosing from among US citizens.
Hence the result.

Now if one wants to find examples of US citizens'acts to illustrate duplicity, well, how easy it is.

Cause US citizen eternal nature includes duplicity.

Benjamin Glutton's picture

Feared Being Disliked

Ernie Pyle was haunted all his life by an obsession. He said over and over again, "I suffer agony in anticipation of meeting people for fear they won't like me."

No man could have been less justified in such a fear. Word of Pyle's death started tears in the eyes of millions, from the White House to the poorest dwellings in the country.

President Truman and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt followed his writings as avidly as any farmer's wife or city tenement mother with sons in service.

Mrs. Roosevelt once wrote in her column "I have read everything he has sent from overseas," and recommended his writings to all Americans.

For three years these writings had entered some 14,000,000 homes almost as personal letters from the front. Soldiers' kin prayed for Ernie Pyle as they prayed for their own sons.

In the Eighth Avenue subway yesterday a gray-haired woman looked up, wet-eyed, from the headline "Ernie Pyle Killed in Action" and murmured "May God rest his soul" and other women, and men, around her took up the words. This was typical.

It was rather curious that a nation should have worked up such affection for a timid little man whose greatest fear was "Maybe they won't like me."

lakecity55's picture

Lee Marvin would be my choice for an actor who put his ass on the line. Read up on his USMC exploits.

The Duke is a great symbol, but guys like Marvin and DFC recipient Jimmy Stewart did some heavy lifting.


Gully Foyle's picture


Dude don't you know Audie Murphy's story?

Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy was one of the United States' greatest war heroes and the most decorated soldier in American history.  He distinguished himself countless times in the face of incredible adversity, overcame every obstacle he faced, braved peril of every sort, and did it all with humility, dignity, and a healthy amount of machinegun fire.

Audie was born in rural Texas in 1924, the sixth of twelve children.  He dropped out of school at an early age to help support his family by performing odd jobs around town and hunting for food to feed his family.  His father abandoned them in 1936, and in 1940 his mother died, leaving Audie to care for his brothers and sisters.  When war broke out after Pearl Harbor in 1942, Audie saw the armed forces as a way to help support his family and serve his country.  He tried to enlist, but was still to young for the service.  As soon as he turned 18 he went to the Marine Corps recruiter begging to join up.  The Marines took one look at little Audie - he was five feet five inches tall and one hundred ten pounds - and determined that he was too small for the service.  The Navy guys told him the same thing.  The Army had no qualms about throwing Murphy into the meat grinder however, and shipped him off to North Africa as part of the US 3rd Infantry Division.

Audie trolled around in the desert for a while but never saw any combat until his unit was sent to invade Sicily.  There, he proved himself in several battles and was quickly promoted to Sergeant.  He continued to distinguish himself during the Allied invasion of mainland Italy, serving bravely during an amphibious invasion and in several key battles of the Italian campaign.

After helping secure Italy, the 3rd Division was tasked with the amphibious invasion of Southern France.  After landing on the beachhead, Audie and his best friend noticed a group of German soldiers heading towards them waving a white flag and holding their rifles in the air.  The Americans advanced forward to accept their surrender when all of a sudden the Kraut bastards pulled their rifles down and shot the shit out of Audie's buddy.

This didn't sit well with Sergeant Murphy.  He flipped out like a goddamn ninja and gunned down the treacherous Nazi bastards.  As soon as they hit the deck, a hidden German machine gun nest opened up on Audie.  This only served to make him more angry.  Murphy charged up the hill towards the gun emplacement and smoked the gun crew.  He then picked up their MG42 machine gun and turned it on another nearby machinegun nest.  Using the captured gun Rambo-style, Sergeant Murphy took out two more gun emplacements as well as a couple of sniper positions.  His actions in beating Kraut asses earned him the US Distinguished Service cross - the second-highest honor given out by the military.



As battle raged across Southern France Murphy continued to distinguish himself, earning Silver Stars for taking out machine gun nests and calling down artillery strikes on enemy armored troop positions.  He was promoted to Second Lieutenant, but his adventure wasn't over yet.

Lt. Murphy was serving as company commander in the Holzwihr forest on 26 January 1945.  His unit had been completely decimated - he had 19 men left in his company that was once 128 strong - and had been assigned to hold the critical Colmar Pocket region from a German counterattack.  He had two M-10 tank destroyers attached to his unit, and was expecting and additional two companies of infantry to come cover his flank.

It was a cold, rainy morning when Lt. Murphy first noticed the battalion of German mechanized infantry heading towards his position.  Three companies of Nazi soldiers and half a dozen heavy Tiger tanks were bearing down on him.  Murphy radioed to HQ, only to find that the two companies of supporting infantry he was expecting to hold the flank were not going to arrive in time.  Audie was alone and outnumbered, but it was his duty to hold this position and he knew what he had to do.

He send his men back to take defensive positions behind him, and called the M-10s forward to take out some of the German armor.  Within minutes, both vehicles had been knocked out like chumps.  Now it was just Audie against an impossibly large force of German troops.  Instead of falling back to safety like a regular, sane person, Murphy instead jumped up and manned the .50 caliber machinegun mounted one of the burning, disabled M-10s.  He got on the radio with Command HQ and started calling in artillery strikes to hit the German positions.  Shells rained down, taking out Nazis all over the place, but it wasn't enough.  Lt. Murphy opened up the machinegun from his completely exposed position and stared mowing down Krauts left and right.  Artillery continued to pound the Germans while Murphy shot the shit out of them.  Before long the German losses were so great that the Tiger tanks had to pull back because they had lost most of their infantry support.  Audie continued to fire until he ran out of bullets, then dismounted the M-10 only seconds before the entire vehicle exploded.  He rallied his men, and the small group of Americans charged forward and routed the German forces.  The Colmar Pocket had held.

Murphy saw the war through to it's conclusion before returning home as a hero and receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor.  He served some time in the Texas National Guard, retiring at the rank of Major.  After his military service, Audie Murphy went on to be a badass movie action hero, starring in a number of Westerns and even playing himself in the autobiographical To Hell and Back.  He was eventually given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



I remember when I was young my Dad and I watched To Hell and Back, and he told me that it was the true story of this kid's life.  I remember watching it and thinking to myself that his story was too incredible to be true.  The guy was an unassuming, humble man, but the stuff he accomplished during the war like like shit straight out of a bad action movie.  Add his success as an actor to that, and you have a truly incredible badass.

But don't take my word for it - just look at the list of medals he received for his service:

  • Congressional Medal of Honor
  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Two Silver Stars
  • Legion of Merit
  • Two Bronze Stars
  • Three Purple Hearts
  • U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Two Presidential Unit Citations
  • American Campaign Medal
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star,
    Four Bronze Service Stars and one Bronze Arrowhead
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal
  • Combat Infantry Badge
  • Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar
  • Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar
  • French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre
  • French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier
  • French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star
  • French Croix de Guerre with Palm
  • Medal of Liberated France
  • Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm

#1. Audie Murphy

Who Was He?

When Audie Murphy applied to the Marines in 1942 at the tender age of 16, he was 5'5" and weighed 110 pounds. They laughed in his face. So he applied to the Air Force, and they also laughed in his face. Then he applied for the Army, and they figured they could always use another grunt to absorb gunfire, so they let him in. He wasn't particularly good at it, and they actually tried to get him transferred to be a cook after he passed out halfway through training. He insisted that he wanted to fight though, so they sent him into the maelstrom.

During the invasion of Italy he was promoted to corporal for his awesome shooting skills, and at the same time contracted malaria, which he had for almost the entire war. Try to remember that.

He was sent into southern France in 1944. He encountered a German machine gun crew who pretended they were surrendering, then shot his best buddy. Murphy completely hulked out, killed everyone in the gun nest, then used their weaponry to kill every baddie in a 100-yard radius, including two more machine gun nests and a bunch of snipers. They gave him a Distiguished Service Cross, and made him platoon commander while everyone apologized profusely for calling him "Shorty."

About half a year later, his company was given the job of defending the Colmar Pocket, a critical region in France, even though all they had left was 19 guys (out of the original 128) and a couple of M-10 Tank Destroyers.

The Germans showed up with a shitload of guys and half a dozen tanks. Since reinforcements weren't coming for a while, Murphy and his men hid in a trench and sent the M-10s to go do the heavy lifting. They got ripped to shreds.

Then, this five-and-a-half-foot-tall kid with malaria ran up to one of the crippled M-10s, hopped in behind the .50 cal machine gun, and started killing everything in sight. Understand that the M-10 was on fire, had a full tank of gas and was basically a death-trap.

He is a seriously tiny man.

He kept going for almost an hour until he was out of bullets, then walked back to his bewildered men as the M-10 exploded in the background Mad Max style. They gave him literally every medal they could (33 in all, although he had doubles of a few, plus five from France and one from Belgium), including the Medal of Honor.

After the war, he came down with Shell-Shock, and was prescribed the antidepressant placidyl. When he became addicted to the drug, rather than enter a program like some kind of sissy, he went cold-turkey, locked himself in a motel room for a week and got over it. He wrote an autobiography entitled To Hell and Back, and later became an actor.

The Best Hollywood Could Come Up With:

Audie Murphy (Audie Murphy) from To Hell and Back:

He is a seriously tiny man.

In To Hell and Back, Audie Murphy plays Audie Murphy, a badass war hero who proves his worth on the battlefield with his awesome badassery. The movie was the highest-grossing film Universal made, a record it held for 20 years until the making of Jaws. That's right, they actually needed a movie about a giant, man-eating, shark to top Audie Murphy's awesomeness.

Why it Doesn't Compare:

When some Hollywood producer wanted to make a movie based on Murphy's autobiography, he was determined to have Murphy play himself in the film. Murphy was afraid people would see the complete insane awesomeness the story had to offer, and think he was embellishing or trying to cash in on his fame, so he actually had them take parts out for fear that they wouldn't be believable to a Hollywood audience. Seriously.

lakecity55's picture

Audie is the most famous actor who laid it on the line.

Certainly I am aware of him.

But my point was that guys like Marvin and Stewart were fighting men also, whose military exploits were not as well known.

Alvin York was also one of our best (altho not an actor).

Gully Foyle's picture


To be technical Murphy was a soldier first who's fame allowed him to become an actor.

Lee Marvin was shot in the ass and that ended his service. Funny.

Either way no John Wayne quote deserves to be involved in a discussion of courage.

Bob's picture

Great posts much appreciated this morning, GF!

Gully Foyle's picture


Wayne actively avoided going to war.

Bit of a coward in that sense.

This is probably the best courage cartoon ever done.

And if you want to quote a REAL hero use Audie Murphy.

Lead from the front.

AnAnonymous's picture

Whether or not he actively avoided to serve is another story.

The story here is that this US citizen took advantage of a state provided opportunity to make it big.

On this blog, by this specific US citizen author, you might be find many articles underlining how US citizen corporations use the state to eliminate the concurrence.

John Wayne did the same. Yet, I dont see him treated like a US citizen corporation.

Gully Foyle's picture


While many of his contemporaries, including Henry Fonda, Clark Gable and Ronald Reagan, served in the armed forces during World War II, the lead in such wartime sagas as 1945’s “They Were Expendable,” 1948’s “Fort Apache” and 1968’s “The Green Berets” did not. Wayne was not only missing in action during the 1940s’ liberation of the Philippines and Europe, he wasn’t a cavalry officer, a Vietnam commando or a Leatherneck—flying or otherwise—for he was never in the military.

According to Gary Wills’ book “John Wayne’s America,” the man who portrayed the archetypal, battle-hardened Marine, Sgt. Stryker, in 1949’s “The Sands of Iwo Jima,” actually avoided the draft during WWII. Wills contends that the Duke did not reply to letters from the Selective Service system, and applied for deferments. Apparently, Wayne—who had sought stardom during years of B-pictures following Raoul Walsh’s 1930 frontier drama “The Big Trail”—got his big break during the struggle against fascism when many Hollywood action heroes like Tyrone Power enlisted and shipped out overseas.

With much of the competition away in the Pacific and European theaters, Wayne was able to storm movie theaters to solidify his stardom. While Jimmy Stewart and his fellow celebrity servicemen were real action heroes, Wayne was a “Lights! Cameras! Action!” hero who merely played the part in the safety of Tinseltown’s home front and back lot.

Director John Ford discovered Wayne when he was on USC’s football team, and with his rugged physique, the 6-foot-4-inch Duke was identified with American machismo.

Wayne was a vocal conservative, and his critics contend that the onscreen “Injun killer” was racist off-screen. In an infamous 1971 Playboy magazine interview, the Duke made insensitive comments about blacks and said this about America’s indigenous people: “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”

Although he often was paired on screen with Irish redhead Maureen O’Hara, Wayne’s three marriages were all to Latinas. According to San Antonio-born actress Karen Kramer, who’d worked with Duke in 1954’s “The High and the Mighty,” while Wayne was shooting “The Alamo” near her hometown, he asked Kramer to accompany third wife Pilar when she shopped there. “She was Hispanic, you know,” Kramer said in an interview. “Texas was very reactionary and Duke was afraid she’d be maligned” unless the blond actress rode shotgun for Mrs. Wayne.

A virulent anti-communist, Wayne was president of the right-wing Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals and cheered the Hollywood blacklist during the House Un-American Activities Committee’s purge of entertainment industry leftists. He starred in Red Menace movies such as 1955’s China-set “Blood Alley” and 1952’s “Big Jim McLain,” based on the case of the Hawaii 7, wherein suspected communists, including longshoreman union leader Jack Hall, were charged with advocating the overthrow of the American government. Wayne plays two-fisted federal agent Jim McLain (his name bears the same initials as Sen. Joe McCarthy’s) who busts Honolulu’s commies.

Nevertheless, Wayne reportedly considered himself a socialist during his freshman year at college, and voted for Roosevelt during the Depression. Some of his best pictures employed left-wing talents who were victimized by HUAC’s witch hunters.  “Back to Bataan” (1945) was directed by Edward Dmytryk, who would become one of the Hollywood Ten in 1947, and co-written by blacklistee Ben Barzman. According to Barzman’s wife, Norma, at a 1945 New Year’s Eve party, Duke “put his arms around Ben and embraced him with fervor. ‘You goddamned communist!’ he accused, lovingly. Ben hugged him back. ‘You goddamned Fascist!’ ”

In the crowning irony of the conservative’s career, Wayne finally struck Oscar gold for playing Rooster Cogburn in 1969’s “True Grit”—written for the screen by ex-communist Marguerite Roberts, blacklisted in 1952 for refusing to inform on leftists.

At the height of the Cold War, Nikita Khrushchev visited America and asked to meet Wayne, who met the Soviet premier at President Eisenhower’s request. (Wayne also met with Emperor Hirohito during the WWII leader’s 1975 state visit to America.)

An outspoken hawk during the Vietnam War, Wayne co-directed and starred in the Pentagon-subsidized propaganda picture “The Green Berets.” Duke denounced antiwar protesters, reportedly saying: “As far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t bother me a bit to pull the trigger on one of  ‘em.”

Wayne was, in reality, a draft dodger. America’s archetypal soldier was in fact a chicken hawk. He was a cheerleader and champion of militaristic patriotism and combat he had never experienced. Wayne had “other priorities” during WWII—achieving superstardom (and saving his neck) was more important than defeating fascism. Much like Vice President Dick Cheney, who sought numerous deferments during the Vietnam War, Wayne was the quintessential war wimp. 

According to Pilar Wayne, her husband “would become a ‘superpatriot’ for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying home” during WWII. Like Wayne, the current crop of GOP chicken hawks are great actors, overcompensating for their previous patriotic failings (draft dodging, etc.) by sounding the jingoistic battle cry for a new generation of working-class sons and daughters to go to war.  Or, as George W. Bush did in a priceless moment of Hollywood flourish, dressing up in a flight suit to declare a failing and deadly war in Iraq a “mission accomplished.”

Wayne convinced us through make-believe that he was Davy Crockett, the Ringo Kid, a Flying Tiger or D-day parachutist Lt. Col. Benjamin Vandervoort in 1962’s “The Longest Day.” Pretending is the essence of acting, and that’s why Wayne was a better actor than Brando, who usually played versions of himself. Wayne, on the other hand, created imaginary characters fabricated out of whole cloth.

Unfortunately, in an America manipulated by the military-industrial-entertainment complex, as Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” put it: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” But these lies and fantasies have consequences in real life for those mistakenly buying into them. Veteran Ron Kovic, who was portrayed by Tom Cruise in Oliver Stone’s 1989 “Born on the Fourth of July,” declared after he was paralyzed from the waist down in Vietnam: “I gave my dead dick for John Wayne.” It’s interesting that Wayne’s last public appearance was when he presented the best picture Oscar in 1979 to Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter,” a Vietnam film that raised questions about honor and patriotism.

The greatest incongruity in Wayne’s world of incongruities is that the militaristic hooey he broadcast may have killed the Cold Warrior.  “The Conqueror”—released in 1956 and starring Wayne as Genghis Khan—was shot on location 100 miles downwind of Nevada’s nuclear testing sites. An unusually high percentage of cast and crew members eventually died of cancer, including Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, Dick Powell and Wayne himself, who exited stage right on June 11, 1979, of stomach cancer. In 1980, People magazine published a story about “The Conqueror’s” cancer victims, and quoted a Pentagon Defense Nuclear Agency scientist’s reaction: “Please, God, don’t let us have killed John Wayne.”

Screenwriter Oscar Millard originally wanted Brando—who supported civil rights, the Black Panthers and the antiwar movement and had declined his 1973 “Godfather” Oscar to protest Hollywood’s abusive depiction of Indians in Westerns, many of them starring Wayne—to play Genghis Khan.

On the 100th anniversary of the Duke’s birth, Americans need to distinguish between myth and deadly realities. We must re-examine America’s love affair with settling disputes through gunplay, and question people and institutions that demand that the young sacrifice their minds and bodies in tribute to these actors (of the stage and political theater) and the violence they celebrate.

Maybe then, when the truth and not the legend is printed, we can agree with the 1960s’ prototypical protester, Abbie Hoffman, who reportedly quipped after Wayne’s death: “Even cavemen felt a little admiration for the dinosaurs that were trying to gobble them up.”

AnAnonymous's picture

“I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”


That is a great quote. Told by the US citizen who personified US citizen machismo.

Apostate2's picture

'US citizens have this special knack at choosing examples that dilute or even destroy their statements.'

So do yours Anon. Glad your grammar has improved. You US citizen. You have many examples of certain values to chose from your 'eternal nature'. I suggest you saddle up and try to outrun your fear and duplicity.

AnAnonymous's picture

My grammar has not improved. The english language has no official grammar. Constantly refering to english grammar as a formated set shows a leaning toward centralization.

And centralization, that is bad, right?

For the rest, US citizen bull's eye. Cheap ad hominem that have to remain vague.

Apostate2's picture

'Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.'


Ranger4564's picture

The message to the people is clear George... we the people need to man up and grow some courage.  Sadly George, the people have perverted your message and read it differently... thank god there are some solitary courageous figures who will save our ass once again, we were starting to wonder what was taking them so long. 

No one will save you... that courageous individual at Tianamen Square didn't save the people at TS.  Ron Paul did not save you. Individuals make for great stories, but they don't achieve victory... they sometimes successfully set examples... but the more audacious the expression, take TS for example, the fewer followers you'll find.  Too frightening.

People of the world...I'll repeat what I said a few months ago.  If only 1 of us fights for the Dignity of Humanity, DOH for short, then that 1 person must embody the courage of the entirety of humanity... that's a lot to demand of anyone.  If 50,000,000 of us fights for the DOH, then we still only need the same amount of courage, but it's divided by 50,000,000, so a very small amount by any measure.  [ editor's note: I like DOH because it's that obvious. ]

Moral of the story is, you don't need Courage, you need your fellow human beings to stand with you... and that's what Occupy Wall Street is all about.  Notwithstanding your lack of courage, Stand with your fellow human being, and share the courage.  Don't celebrate it, valorize it, glorify it... HAVE IT.  Have courage, because it's what's required.  We don't need parades, we need to march.  We don't need observers, we need participants.  Get off your ass, stop typing, and go Occupy something.  Occupy is just slang for Protest.  Go Protest.  Go demand a different world.  Just go. :-)

Just like 1 person could not save humanity, typing will not either.  The only way to save humanity is to risk your life.  And that is the point.  Risk your life so that your life is worth living.  It is that simple.

F. Bastiat's picture

The occutards are simply the second coming of the dada-ists.  Nothing new under the sun, I guess.

Gully Foyle's picture


"and that's what Occupy Wall Street is all about."

My ass. These are people who merely want what mom and dad had financially. They had no clear message, like the civil rights movement.

They are posers who offered a job from Apple would jump at the chance.

Use better examples.


pissing_excellence's picture

I though this GW article was done well and some of the positive comments were perfect, screw spelling I got the gist.  I liked the mother bear example too.

JOYFUL's picture

how strange, the absence of certain specimens of "Chinese Citizenism", when the discussion turns to the perilous position of "chinese citizens" in the path of the massed power of the proletarian state....


AnAnonymous's picture

Indeed, indeed.

Those rascals keep running away, just as US citizens do when one addresses their dearly gift to humanity, US citizenism.

That said, one has to underline that no matter what, US citizens are the superior breed of humanity. They will stay, running away, shifting their shit onto others, blaming anyone but themselves etc

The rest of humanity is just an awful lot, rag tag, bootleggers, rascals etc no matter what.

How funny on a topic dedicated to bravery.

US citizen nature. US citizen speak one way adverse to their nature and the second later, exhibits the counter evidence in their acts.

US citizens are gentle people.

Bob's picture

FWIW, your intonation and cadence seem Indian to me. 

+1, btw. 

Conax's picture

Courage goes hand in hand with honor. It's about standing up for what is right, facing your fears and not being paralyzed by them. Anyone who claims 'no fear' is an idiot or a liar.

When I was a kid it was a tough neighborhood, and you had to fight once in a while because of the punks and assholes that lived there.

I would get a sort of jumpy-woozy feeling every time before the fight would start. I told my older brother I must be a coward because of that shaky stomach.

He pointed out that it was just adrenaline, and it gave you power.

I became a terror after that. Fear can be used to energize you, it sharpens the senses, heightens alertness, and slows time to where you can move and react faster. Fear is your friend.
It's a natural defense mechanism, and should not be counted as cowardice, which is really just a lack of character.

bigkahuna's picture

There are a couple more GW haters than usual around here tonight.

George Washington's picture

Of course ... fear is the elites' main weapon. Anyone who questions the need to give into fear is rocking the boat.

DaveyJones's picture

"I must not fear, fear is the mind killer"

- The Bene Gesserit (Frank Herbert - Dune)

Gully Foyle's picture

George Washington

You need to attribute that Wayne quote to whatever character he was playing.

John Wayne was a coward who actively avoided going to war. He manipulated the system while his compatriots joined the fight.

Good actor, who couldn't walk the walk like Audie Murphy or Eddie Albert could.

Clowns on Acid's picture

Mixing apples w/ oranges GW. What you do best.

jumbo maverick's picture

It takes no courage to stand in front of the police, many of them military vets, with the hope they don't shoot you in the knees with less than lethal tear gas or bean bag rounds.
It does however take courage to teach your 11 year old to stab a mothefucker in the kidney with an ice pick, to shoot a downed man in the head.
These things sound crazy but our "leaders" are crazy and one day they will send crazy people against us.
You have to teach that motherfuckers are on the way and they should be dealt with like they are a motherfucker but there are also things like empathy,sympathey and good karma that you have to Iinclude in everything you do.
Call me fucked up but I know how to be that last man standing. Rollover if that's what you wanna do. I won't

PLove's picture

Just remember who financed Cromwell

And every war since.

JR's picture

George, I think you are a valuable resource to ZH, and I have learned very much from you and value your courage. But courage, to be admirable, needs to be linked with principle, which makes the use of the quotation by Nelson Mandela for courage somewhat out of place, IMO.

Nelson Mandela sings in the videos below with blacks and whites about killing whites…arms bent at the elbow with the hand forward, fingers bent into a raised paw of unity and defiance….all eyes closed, heads bowed….

“Go safely MKHONTO – Go safely SIZWE.  We the members of M.K. have pledged ourselves to kill them - the AMA – BHULU (whites)

“We the members ….

“So safely MKHONTO – go safely SIZWE.  We the members…

“…a documentary about the songs of the...ANC, SACP, MK and UDF. Songs like: ‘Kill the Boers, kill the racists’, ‘We the members of MK…” reported by the apologist white media as a “liberation commemoration”….

Ranger4564's picture

You have balls, and that's about it.


The whites pledged exactly what?  Take a fucking look at Africa, open your god damn eyes this time.  What do you see?  Do you see a bunch of rabid blacks hell bent on killing off whites simply because they're racist assholes, or do you see a bunch of rabid whites hell bent on subjugating and killing blacks simply because they're racist assholes?


You are welcome to object to whatever the hell it is you want, you must be able to acknowledge reality and you must understand there's resentment, hurt, suffering, etc.  That doesn't mean I admire NM for singing about killing white people... I can understand why he might want to.  He however is not going about doing it, they're getting their frustration out singing about it.  The whites on the other hand, are continuing to run across the globe subjugating, oppressing, killing.


My god the sheer stupidity of comments on this site just astounds me. 

F. Bastiat's picture

In Zimbabwe, absolutely.  Africa is regressing rapidly without the civilized influence of the Boers.

Sanksion's picture

Actually, right now, I see blacks killing blacks because they belong to different tribes or worship different gods, or are albinos. 

Blaming whites for all the bloody mess is quite an epic scapegoat. 

Ranger4564's picture

So you're saying that because some blacks kill blacks, that it's OK for the whites to kill blacks too, because as long as there's killing to be had, might as well let a white man do it?


Have you heard of slavery?  Mining?  Deforestation?  Oil wells?  Minerals?  Diamonds?  Have you heard of Imperialism?  Have you heard of Colonies?  Have you heard their fucking cries? 


Maybe they have songs about killing the opposing tribes too.  Maybe they're just blood thirsty savages.  Maybe they're primitive, backwards, degenerate.  Unworthy.

DaveyJones's picture

funny thing how every faith and pigment has screwed, bought and sold another 

it's almost as if we're all the same

Yellowhoard's picture

GW, you stand with butchers.

The OWS people are striving for the violent overthrow of the US.

You stand with Soros and Ayers and Piven.

These people want to kill millions of people that disagree with them.

Since your posts are at the top of the page, I can only assume that you are paying ZH for the privilege.

Are you receiving any money from a Soros funded group?

George Washington's picture

ZH readers are too saavy to fall for the old .

The Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements (before both were coopted by the powers-that-be).

jwoop66's picture

George, that is the dumbest shit i ever heard.    Occupy, from what I can tell stands for statism and excessive govt regulation.  The Tea Party stands for adherence to the US Constitution.  No two ideas could be more opposite. 

Freedom vs. govt servitude. 

Divide and conquer pony show?  The "left/right paradigm".  Who came up with that shit?  A Left wing thinktank?  Some sort of Alynski nonsense to keep the less informed from voting or otherwise getting involved with the process?

Are you trying to say that American Constitutionalism and statism are the same, it's just that the banksters and corporatists have me convinced they are different?    Of course, that is to keep the Rothschilds in power...



F. Bastiat's picture

Exactly right.  The occutards are confused about liberty.  To the occutard, liberty is the "power to do what you want".  The correct definition of liberty is the "absence of coercion".

Ignorance is their primary problem.  Drug abuse seems to a close second.

Bob's picture

Money is power.

That's almost universally recognized as true.

Yet it seems that the great vision of the "Liberty Movement" ignores it completely. Anything currently legal that money can get done is to be celebrated--regardless of its impact on those who don't have the money. Crush unions, eliminate the minimum wage, gut social security and so on. And things that are not legal, e.g., environmental destruction, monopolistic control of the food supply, and so on must be made legal, i.e., unregulated.

Is it any wonder, then, that they've (in their Tea Party branding) been featured guests of the Corporate Media and, in comparison with OWS, avidly catered to by one arm of the Red/Blue political party?

Much as the rhetoric is so deeply embellished with allusions to our revolutionary Founding Fathers, I don't see much genuinely revolutionary about it.

Their remarkable success in the war against all the communists in our midst notwithstanding.

Do you see why they look like corporate tools to so many outside the faith?